If You Are A Hardgainer, This Post Is For You
If you are a hardgainer that basically means you have one heck of a time putting on weight. It may seem no matter what you do you can’t keep weight or muscle on to be sustainable. For others reading this is may be the opposite, you put weight on extremely easy, and it drives you crazy. Both sides of the spectrum struggle with their own sets of issues. For me personally, I am a hardgainer, I drop weight or maintain a certain weight rather easy. So, if you are hardgainer and want some tips, or someone who struggles with weight gain this post will serve both sides. As always keep on reading…
A Little Background of a Hardgainer
Prepping for this post I came across a great article. Below is a snippet of that article that will paint the picture for the rest of the post.
My definition of a hardgainer is the naturally skinny person, who no matter what he or she eats, always seem to remain the same body weight. This is what Dr. William H. Sheldon referred to as an “ectomorph” somatotype when he came up with the theory sometime in the 1940′s. Sheldon’s theory states that human bodies are divided into three main somatotypes; the ectomorph, the endomorph and the mesomorph. In a nutshell, the ectomorph is the naturally skinny person who has trouble gaining weight, whether in the form of muscle or fat. The endomorph on the other hand has the opposite problem, it is too easy for a person with this body type to gain weight. While endomorphs are easy muscle gainers, provided they diet and train correctly, they are cursed with a slow metabolism, which makes it imperative that they be strict with their diet year round if they wish to have any abdominal definition. The mesomorph, however, is the naturally muscular person, who also has a higher metabolism than the endomorph. Mesomorphs make excellent bodybuilders and for them, gains in muscle and reduction in body fat come rather easily provided they maintain a great training and nutrition program; life is not fair.
Read the rest of the article here –> hardgainers
This article focuses on bodybuilding, something I do not advocate nor do I enjoy. However the research aspect of Dr. Shedlon’s work is worth focusing on. As you read, he breaks down body types into three different categories and depending on which category you fall into will determine your physique and weight management. The ectomorph aka hardgainer struggles to gain weight via muscle or fat. As a hardgainer this can feel like torture at times if gaining weight is your desire.
A Little Experiement I Did
A few years back I wanted to gain some muscle mass, this was in my gym going phase when I knew little to nothing of the amazing benefits bodyweight training delivers. My goal was to gain 20lbs of muscle. Being a hardgainer this was a difficult goal to achieve and maintain. So I reduced my cardio substantially, only about an hour a week, lifted really heavy (2-6 reps max) and mostly did super sets. I ate between 5,000-6,000 calories a day. After about two months I achieved my goal I went from 205lbs to 225 lbs and it was mainly muscle weight I gained. The maintaining the gains was the most challenging. I had to eat the same amount of calories and not increase cardio because if I did I would lose the wieght. After a few months of working hard to maintain this weight I found bdoyweight training and then simply asked myself “what am I doing?”
Skinny guys want to show and have more muscle for some reason, I was in this camp. But the more I saw my grocery bill skyrocket, the amount of time and attention I was giving to packing on muscle the more I realized it was a fleeting goal, one that without strict dedication would be madness to strive to keep for years on end. So when I started bodyweight training and listening to what my body wanted I ditched the pack on muscle mentality and focused on getting really fit and agile. In the end I am now lean and well toned, fluctuate around 205 -210 and feel ten times better then I did when I was trying to pack on weight. With all fo this said if you are trying to back on weight or lose it these five steps below will help you succeed:
- Find your daily calorie burn. There are free calorie calculators on the internet you can use. Find out how many calories you burn each day both with and without exercise. Then if you want to gain weight increase your calorie load to be greater than that you burn. If you want to lose weight, do the opposite.
- To make it a bit more complex, a calorie is not just a calorie. I unpack this in depth in Bodyweight Blast X, but don’t load up on empty processed crap calories if you want to gain weight. Eat real food, not processed junk. Same goes if you want to lose weight, shift to organic and low carb and mainly veggies and meats.
- Understand your motivation. Do you want to pack on muscle to feel better, or project an image fo yourself to others differently than what you have now? Do you want to lose weight for health benefits or social pressures? Define what your motivation is, and if it is anything than intrinsic be careful
- Alter your training program. Decrease cardio and lift heavy if you want to gain muscle mass. Increase cardio and strength conditioning if you want to drop weight. Muscle burns more calories than fat so if you want to lose or gain weight you need to adjust as you gain more muscle mass and/or tone
- Make your strategy sustainable. Whatever strategy you decide on make sure it is something that is sustainable that will get you to your goal weight and keep you there.
Final Thoughts On A Hardgainer
I am one, but I realized I would much rather work on getting as fit as possible and as healthy as possible for trying to pack on muscle to look bigger. Real health happens when you put aside perceptions and outside influences and truly work on getting you to optimal health. A hardgainer or not, just make sure your motivations are right before attempting to pack on the muscle or lose the weight.